HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — SEC Media Days came to a close on Thursday, but the previous day was a tough one for the Ole Miss Rebels as former Head Coach Houston Nutt’s filed a lawsuit against the school.
As Hugh Freeze took the podium, he quickly announced that he would not be answering questions about the pending lawsuit, and in an effort to possibly discourage the questions, launched into a detailed pre-written response about the allegations of character defamation.
“Our administration is taking what we believe to be appropriate action, including double-digit scholarship reductions, meaningful recruiting reductions, a one-year bowl ban, and a large financial penalty just to name a few.” Freeze said.
Freeze’s speech continued for over 10 minutes, and he laid out his plans to rise above both the sanctions barring the school from a bowl game and what it meant to his players to play through this season
“It provides us with a growing season. You can grow as an individual and as a coach,” Freeze said. “You have an opportunity to model for young men that are at an age where they get to see how a man goes through adversity.”
Freeze remained confident that the tough season ahead would have no bearing on his growing team, as standouts Javon Patterson, Breeland Speaks, and Shea Patterson waited to give their own talks to the media.
“Whatever is occurring out there has zero bearing on their opportunity to get a degree, has zero bearing on their opportunity to develop themselves as the best player they can be, and has zero effect on them developing themselves into the best man they can be,” Freeze said.
As the Freeze speech grew longer, journalists in the room began to giggle every time the topic changed. However, Freeze is longing for the season where the laughter disappears and his team can begin the season with a clear head.
“Facing adversity is something that we’re familiar with,” Freeze said at the podium. “It’s kind of been around us for a while now, and I sure will be glad for the day where I can stand here and it’s not.”